Date: 11/28/18 8:28 pm From: Josh <opihi...> Subject: [MASSBIRD] Western Mass CBCs; Franklin County surprises
Spurred on by an inquiry posted in one of the western MA Facebook groups, I put together a list for all of the Christmas Bird Counts west of Springfield. For anyone who’d like to know (and please feel free to post corrections if I botched any part of this):
My theme for Wednesday could have been "Birds I sorta expected in places I really didn't." The top three examples:
1. The Snow Bunting which dropped out of the sky, landing on a tiny patch of lawn right next to the stop sign in between Weatherhead's convenience store and the French King Bowling Alley, just as my son and I had pulled up to said stop sign! I could have gotten great photos, but the motorists behind me would have been irritated, and my son would have been late for school....
2. The American Pipit which was crawling around on the floating mat of driftwood, basketballs, and other debris that regularly piles up on the upstream side of the row of orange buoys that stretches across Barton Cove; and ...
3. The pair of Black Vultures which was soaring over downtown Montague just as I was motoring through!
The Barton Cove Hooded Merganser party was at 60 birds, not as surprising but fun to watch, and to hear. (Hoodies make some silly noises when they get together and in the mood….)
Yesterday, my biggest surprise was a Palm Warbler in the pollinator garden at the Fort River Division of Silvio Conte NWR in Hadley, as I was taking our dog for a walk. Larry Therrien relocated the warbler today, and said it was the latest he had seen in the county. Which, when it’s Hampshire County, if Larry hasn’t seen it…. My second-biggest surprise was my biggest flock of Cedar Waxwings so far this winter, over 250 of them, near the Turners Falls power canal. Tried my best to find one of those “funny” waxwings in the crowd, but no dice this time.
BTW, there was a Snowy Owl photographed in Hampshire County yesterday. I won’t get specific about the location in a public post, in keeping with western MA policy of recent years, but seems worth generally mentioning. I do know that at least three local birders tried and failed to relocate it this morning.